Children's Literature in Education

, Volume 47, Issue 2, pp 93–109 | Cite as

Dahl’s Neologisms

  • Dominic CheethamEmail author
Original Paper


Roald Dahl is famous for his lexical creativity, for his skill in naming his characters, his ability to create names for a variety of imagined creatures and sweets, and for his most mentioned achievement in creating the language used by the BFG. This paper presents an overview of the development and patterning of Dahl’s word creation as found in a manual search for the neologisms in all his children’s books. That data is then used as a tool to examine the question of how child readers can cope with the often large numbers of created, and therefore unknown, words in a story. It is argued that the humour of the created words may act as a cue to readers, identifying these words as not needing deeper understanding.


Roald Dahl Neologism Novel language Lexical creation Humour Understanding 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sophia UniversityTokyoJapan

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